The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, December 11, 2017.

Washington Post: Simeon "Booker, the Washington bureau chief of Jet and Ebony magazines for five decades, died Dec. 10 at an assisted-living community in Solomons, Md. He was 99 and had recently been hospitalized for pneumonia, said his wife, Carol Booker. Few reporters risked more to chronicle the civil rights movement than Mr. Booker. He was the first full-time black reporter for The Washington Post, serving on the newspaper’s staff for two years before joining Johnson Publishing Co. to write for Jet, a weekly, and Ebony, a monthly modeled on Life magazine, in 1954."

New York Times: "... the prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, is the mystery buyer of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting 'Salvator Mundi,' which fetched a record $450.3 million at auction last month, documents show. The revelation that Prince Bader is the purchaser, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times, links one of the most captivating mysteries of the art world with palace intrigues in Saudi Arabia that are shaking the region. Prince Bader splurged on this controversial and decidedly un-Islamic portrait of Christ at a time when most of the Saudi Arabian elite, including members of the royal family, are cowering under a sweeping crackdown against corruption and self-enrichment."

Politico: "PBS announced on Monday that CNN International correspondent Christiane Amanpour would be the interim replacement for Charlie Rose after he was fired and his long-running interview show was canceled over multiple allegations of sexual harassment.... 'Amanpour on PBS' will begin airing on New York’s PBS station on Monday and will roll out to other stations beginning Dec. 11."

Variety: "Netflix has reached an agreement to resume production on 'House of Cards' season 6 — the show’s final season — in early 2018, according to chief content officer Ted Sarandos. Production of 'House of Cards' season 6 was suspended in October, following sexual assault allegations against star Kevin Spacey. Season 6 of the political thriller will be eight episodes, starring Robin Wright, Sarandos said. The final season will not include Spacey, as previously announced. Each of the previous season have comprised 13 episodes."

In reaction to the horrors of what happened in Charlottesville, which is named after this queen, her ancestry is very relevant. -- historian Mario De Valdes y Cocom, on Queen Charlotte of Britain's biracial heritage ...

... Washington Post: "When Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement Monday (Nov. 27), Twitter erupted with the news that the newest princess in the royal family would be bi-racial. 'We got us a Black princess ya’ll,” GirlTyler exulted. “Shout out to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Their wedding will be my Super Bowl.'... But Markle, whose mother is black and whose father is white, may not be the first mixed-race royal. Some historians suspect that Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III who bore the king 15 children, was of African descent. Historian Mario De Valdes y Cocom argues that Queen Charlotte was directly descended from a black branch of the Portuguese royal family: Alfonso III and his concubine, Ouruana, a black Moor.” The report on Charlotte's heritage is fascinating.

... Mrs. McCrabbie: One of the best things about Southern white bigots is that, slavery being what it was, they're very likely to be less than 99 & 44/100ths percent pure white. For instance, these two young fellas have facial features that are remarkably similar:

But, um, one of them is David Duke & the other is Jesse Jackson. Separated at birth? Give Duke a 'fro, & he'd easily pass for African-American. Maybe a hood kinda relaxes curls.

Guardian: Britain's "Prince Harry is to marry his American actor girlfriend Meghan Markle in spring next year, Clarence House has announced. 'His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle,' it said in a statement on Monday."

 

The full Neiman's Christmas book is here, with some items costing less than $35K.

New Yorker: Thomas Hargrove, a retired journalist, is developing an algorithm to solve serial murders. Interesting & not a bit nutty. Hargrove's research suggests that the number of serial killers still out their doing their jobs is much greater than police departments realize (or will admit -- serial killers are bad for local tourism). Also too, the percentage of murders that get solved has dropped precipitously in the last half-century.

Donaldo da Trumpo. Guardian: "On Wednesday, a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting sold for $450.3m, rocking the art world.... On Thursday, that same art world was given a reality check, when a sketch by the less celebrated Donald Trump sold for just $6,875 at an auction in Los Angeles. Trump’s untitled piece, which depicts the Manhattan skyline, barely cleared its minimum price of $5,000.... The president took on his project in 2009 for a charity event. Trump seems to have used either pencil or ballpoint pen for the piece, which measures 8in x 5in. The sketch shows what appear to be skyscrapers, alongside something representing the Empire State Building. Nate D Sanders, the auction house handling the sale, presented the sketch in a 15in x 18in frame, along with a signed photo of Trump."

New York Times: "After 19 minutes of dueling, with four bidders on the telephone and one in the room, Leonardo da Vinci’s 'Salvator Mundi' sold on Wednesday night for $450.3 million with fees, shattering the high for any work of art sold at auction. It far surpassed Picasso’s 'Women of Algiers,' which fetched $179.4 million at Christie’s in May 2015. The buyer was not immediately disclosed." ...

... New York Times critic Jason Farago calls the painting "a proficient but not especially distinguished religious picture from turn-of-the-16th-century Lombardy, put through a wringer of restorations.... The painting, when purchased at an estate sale in 2005 for less than $10,000, was initially considered a copy of a lost Leonardo, completed around 1500 and once in the collection of Charles I of England. [Some experts still think it's a copy.] Over time, its wood surface became cracked and chafed, and it had been crudely overpainted.... Cleaned by the conservator Dianne Dwyer Modestini, the painting now appears in some limbo state between its original form and an exacting, though partially imagined, rehabilitation."

Constant Comments

 

Editor-in-Chief:
Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. Des MacHale (often misattributed to H. L. Mencken)

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. -- A. J. Liebling

Tuesday
Jun162015

The Commentariat -- June 17, 2015

Afternoon Update:

Unlimited Crappy Service. Brian Fung of the Washington Post: "The Federal Communications Commission slapped AT&T with a $100 million fine Wednesday, accusing the country's second-largest cellular carrier of improperly slowing down Internet speeds for customers who had signed up for 'unlimited' data plans. The FCC found that when customers used up a certain amount of data watching movies or browsing the Web, AT&T 'throttled' their Internet speeds so that they were much slower than normal. Millions of AT&T customers were affected by the practice.... AT&T implemented the practice in 2011, prompting thousands of customers to complain to the FCC, according to an agency statement.... AT&T disputed the charges."

Mike Isaac & Natasha Singer of the New York Times: "In what could prove to be a ruling with serious implications for the on-demand economy, the California Labor Commission has ruled that an Uber driver should be classified as an employee, not an independent contractor."

Housing Prices Stabilize. Neil Irwin of the New York Times: "Now, by a wide range of measures, nationwide home prices look relatively normal when compared with incomes, rents and other fundamentals -- and are rising at similar low, single-digit rates.In contrast to the periods of irrational optimism and pessimism, the market is settling into a balance in which buyers are comfortable spending what they can afford given their income and savings, but aren't willing (or able to persuade lenders) to stretch beyond that." ...

... Lori Aratani of the Washington Post: Washington D.C.'s Metro "central train control center -- tasked with ensuring the safety of thousands of passengers moving through the nation's second busiest rail system -- is chronically understaffed, chaotic and filled with distractions, according to a federal report released Wednesday."

The Ugly American. Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: As a budget crisis looms in Wisconsin, Scott Walker takes a taxpayer-funded six-day vacation trade mission to Quebec. "Walker's four foreign trips in five months stand out. He now sprinkles details of his world travels into his stump speeches. While in Canada, Walker suggested that he had qualms about drinking the water in other countries he had visited." CW: Yeah, that's really showing your foreign policy creds, Scottie, & demonstrating what a great diplomat you are, too. The other countries he's visited were Britain, Germany, France & Spain, none of which is likely to serve up non-potable water, & certainly not in the fancy hotels where he stays. Oh, and he lies about his meetings with foreign leaders, too:

At a donor retreat hosted by Mitt Romney last week, Walker said in a speech that British Minister David Cameron told him that he was dissatisfied with President Obama's leadership. Cameron's staff quickly denied Walker's account, telling Time that Cameron did not make such a remark and does not feel that way.

... CW: I've been trying to think who Scottie reminds me of. Now I remember: George W. Bush.

*****

Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post lays out how Congressional Republicans will get the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement passed.

Paul Lewis of the Guardian: "More than 20 Republican senators rejected a ban on the use of cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners on Tuesday, voting against an ultimately successful measure to permanently prevent a repeat of the CIA's once secret and now widely-discredited torture program. The bipartisan amendment reaffirms President Barack Obama's prohibition of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, which were developed by the CIA under the administration of his predecessor, George W Bush. The measure passed in the Senate, 78-21." ...

... Julian Hattem of the Hill: The ban is an "amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) [which] would limit the entire U.S. government to the interrogation and detention techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual." CW: So it's not a done deal, even in the Senate. ...

... Joshua Keating of Slate: "If the massive defense bill, with the amendment intact, reaches President Obama's desk -- which could depend on the outcome of a number of unrelated debates -- it will mark a significant step forward in the effort to restrict the use of torture, though a few ambiguities still remain."

Lisa Rein of the Washington Post: Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chair of the House Oversight Committee, "Tuesday called on the government's personnel chief and her chief information officer to resign after saying that she 'failed utterly and totally' to prevent the massive hack that exposed the personal data of 4.2 million active and former employees.... Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta and the agency's chief information officer, Donna Seymour, were grilled for almost three hours by angry lawmakers from both parties.... Lawmakers noted that OPM was warned repeatedly by the agency's inspector general to make computer security upgrades, but took too long."

Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: "The F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors are investigating whether front-office officials for the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful teams in baseball over the past two decades, hacked into internal networks of a rival team to steal closely guarded information about player personnel. Investigators have uncovered evidence that Cardinals officials broke into a network of the Houston Astros that housed special databases the team had built, according to law enforcement officials. Internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports were compromised, the officials said." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Brady Dennis of the Washington Post: "The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said it will give manufacturers three years to remove artificial trans fat from the nation's food supply, a move that the agency estimates could reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of heart attack deaths each year." ...

... Hero of the Day. Brady Dennis: "No one was more pleased by the Food and Drug Administration's decision Tuesday to eliminate artificial trans fats from the U.S. food supply than Fred Kummerow, a 100-year-old University of Illinois professor who has warned about the dangers of the artery-clogging substance for nearly six decades. 'Science won out,' Kummerow, who sued the FDA in 2013 for not acting sooner, said in an interview from his home in Illinois. 'It's very important that we don't have this in our diet.'"

Todd Frankel of the Washington Post: "The world's largest underground aquifers -- a source of fresh water for hundreds of millions of people -- are being depleted at alarming rates, according to new NASA satellite data that provides the most detailed picture yet of vital water reserves hidden under the Earth's surface. Twenty-one of the world's 37 largest aquifers -- in locations from India and China to the United States and France -- have passed their sustainability tipping points, meaning more water was removed than replaced during the decade-long study period, researchers announced Tuesday."

Dahlia Lithwik on the Supreme Court's decision not to hear an appeal of the Fourth Circuit's decision to strike down a North Carolina law that required doctors to "specifically describe the fetus to any pregnant woman seeking an abortion." The Court's rejection of the North Carolina appeal does not strike similar laws in 23 other states.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) explains the Constitution to shut-ins. McKayla Bean of Right Wing News: "'right now, the American people don't understand that the Supreme Court, when it makes a ruling, it's just an opinion if no one enforces that ruling. The Supreme Court doesn't have a police force; the Supreme Court doesn't have an army; the Supreme Court doesn't have people that can enforce their ruling.' Therefore, if conservatives 'stand up to them and invoke the Constitution, then we don't have to accept a ruling on marriage that redefines marriage.... We're sending a message to the Supreme Court that, number one, it's illegal that they have this case before them; it's not in their jurisdiction.' Proving his Constitutional prowess, DeLay argued that 'it's not in their authority to write law by ten unelected, unaccountable people, lawyers, and if -- this is a red line that we're drawing. If they rule against marriage, we will all defy them.'" ...

... CW: In other words, a man who was once one of the most powerful lawmakers in the country says law-abiding is strictly voluntary -- unless the President sends the Army after you. Please, Mr. President, send in the Army. First order of business: make Tom DeLay get gay-married. Thanks to Akhilleus for the link.

Matt Bonesteel of the Washington Post: "Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber on Wednesday gave the first inclination of the size and scope of that country's investigation into wrongdoing at FIFA, saying he is investigating 53 instances of possible money-laundering related to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding processes. Lauber described his investigation, which is running parallel to one being conducted by U.S. prosecutors, as 'huge and complex' and refused to set a timetable. He did say, however, that Russia and Qatar could be stripped of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups...."

Dan McQuade of the Guardian: Electronic espionage has a long history in American sports, dating back more than a century.

Presidential Race

Hannah Fraser-Chanpong & Ellen Uchimiya of CBS News: "During a visit to South Carolina Wednesday, Hillary Clinton will introduce a plan to reduce youth unemployment. The Democratic frontrunner is encouraging businesses to hire apprentices by offering them a tax credit of $1500 per apprentice hired, according to a Clinton campaign aide. Clinton will talk about her proposal at a forum at Trident Technical College in North Charleston." Via Greg Sargent.

Matthew Daly & Steven Ohlemacher of the AP: Hillary Clinton confidant "Sidney Blumenthal, testified in a closed session before the House Benghazi committee Tuesday morning about frequent emails on Libya he sent to Clinton when she served as secretary of state." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Rachel Bade of Politico: "Sidney Blumenthal did not write or know the source of any of the Libya intelligence he passed on to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the top Clinton ally told investigators on the House Select Committee on Benghazi Tuesday in a closed-door deposition. Blumenthal, subpoenaed by the committee, also did not verify any of the intelligence he forwarded to the nation's top diplomat. Instead, Blumenthal was copying and pasting memos from Tyler Drumheller, a former CIA operative who was looking into a Libya-related business venture, and sending them to Clinton, two people familiar with his testimony told Politico." ...

... BONUS STORY: Darryl Issa tried to crash the Blumenthal depo & committee chair Trey Gowdy threw him out. Issa "stormed off." Complete with grainy video!

Grainy photo! Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Pat Leahy and Howard Dean meet with a Vermont store manager in 1993. Vermont Standard photo.... When Bernie Met Hillary. Ben Schreckinger of Politico on Bernie Sanders' many encounters & dealings with Hillary & Bill Clinton. Interesting reading.

Jeb! and Sex! Nick Gass of Politico: "Jeb Bush became the latest politician to 'slow jam the news' with Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday's episode of 'The Tonight Show,' joining a list that includes President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and Chris Christie. And it was just a little ... awkward":

... See P. D. Pepe's commentary in today's thread.

... Jeb! to "Pass Judgment" on Pope. Katie Glueck of Politico: "'I hope I'm not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don't get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,' said Bush, a devout Catholic. He added that he wanted to see exactly what the Pope recommended 'before I pass judgment, but I think religion ought to be about making us better as people, less about things [that] end up getting into the political realm.'" ...

... Coral Davenport of the New York Times: Miami's "Roman Catholic archbishop, Thomas G. Wenski, is planning a summer of sermons, homilies and press events designed to highlight the threat that a warming planet, rising sea levels and more extreme storms pose to his community's poorest and most vulnerable. His sermons and speeches are meant to amplify the message of Pope Francis' highly anticipated, highly controversial encyclical on the environment.... Archbishop Wenski ... hopes that they will resonate with two members of his flock in particular: Florida's junior senator, Marco Rubio, and former Gov. Jeb Bush, both Catholics and both Republican presidential candidates." CW: Big tactical mistake, Your Excellency. Jeb! & Marco think helping the poor is for sissy liberals & communist sympathizers. When the seas rise & engulf Miami, those layabouts can swim -- or sink.

Trump's entry adds much-needed seriousness to the GOP field. -- Democratic National Committee

Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump, the garrulous real estate developer whose name has adorned apartment buildings, hotels, Trump-brand neckties and Trump-brand steaks, announced on Tuesday his entry into the 2016 presidential race, brandishing his wealth and fame as chief qualifications in an improbable quest for the Republican nomination." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Bump on Trump. Philip Bump of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump's spectacular, unending, utterly baffling, often-wrong campaign launch." Bump attempts to fact-check Trump. Eventually, he gives up. Funny. ...

... Another Fake Run? Seems Unpossible. Annie Karni & Adam Lerner of Politico: "Federal Elections Commission records show Trump has yet to file any paperwork making his candidacy official. He has 15 days to do so." ...

... Dana Milbank: "If the American Dream weren't already dead, it would have killed itself listening to Trump's 45-minute greed-is-good speech at a time when the gap between rich and poor is wider than it has been since the Great Depression." ...

... Kerry Eleveld of Daily Kos argues that Trump IS the GOP. With proofs. ...

... Tom Boggioni of the Raw Story: Trump "is the hand the Republicans have dealt themselves and they're looking at possibly twenty candidates, most of whom seem to being playing some kind of long game grift, but none more offensive -- and entertaining! -- than Donald Trump. You broke it, you bought it, GOP. Gold-plated crapper and all." Entertaining read. ...

... David Corn of Mother Jones: "When Donald Trump strode on to the stage at Trump Tower on Tuesday to announce that he would enter the Republican race for president, a rock and roll anthem blared: Neil Young's 'Rockin' in the Free World.' It was an odd choice, given that the 1989 song seemed to slam a Republican administration for not giving a damn about the poor....A statement issued to Mother Jones for Young by his longtime manager Elliot Roberts suggests Young was not pleased...: 'Donald Trump's use of "Rockin' in the Free World" was not authorized. Mr. Young is a longtime supporter of Bernie Sanders.'"

... Update. Jason Newman of Rolling Stone: "When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign told Rolling Stone that the candidate was a fan of Young's music, despite their differing views, and that the track was used legally. 'Through a license agreement with [performance-rights organization] ASCAP, Mr. Trump's campaign paid for and obtained the legal right to use Neil Young's recording of 'Rockin' in the Free World' at today's event,' the spokesperson tells Rolling Stone." ...

... Neil Young? Why Trump didn't lead with this, I'll never know. The O'Jays song is the theme song for Donald's teevee shows, or so I hear:

... Steve M: "Chris Christie ... is the guy who should just hang it up if Trump really does file all the necessary paperwork.... Without Trump, Christie would be the only mouthy Northeasterner in the field. But Trump does Christie's act in a more lapel-grabbing way than Christie does. If Trump's in the debates, there's just no niche for Christie to fill." ...

... Matt Latimer in Politico Magazine: "Seven Reasons the GOP Should Fear Donald Trump. He's a nuisance, a hothead and totally unqualified. But that's what they said about Ross Perot." An enjoyable read. Unless you're Prince Rebus.

Beyond the Beltway

Tom Boggioni: "An Iowa mall cop -- with a Facebook account loaded with open-carry and right-wing memes and photos of multiple weapons -- is under arrest for shooting and killing a fellow mall worker because she filed sexual harassment complaints against him." Boggioni reposts some of the gun-nut "literature" shooter Alex Kozak had posted. CW: You can't tell me the NRA- & ALEC-written gun laws don't give these murderous jackasses a sense of entitlement to use their weapons against anyone who crosses them. I am now officially afraid to live in this country.

News Lede

AP: "A prison worker charged with helping two convicted murderers escape from a maximum-security facility had discussed with them a murder-for-hire plot..., a district attorney confirmed Wednesday. Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said at a news conference that Joyce Mitchell had talked to inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat about the possibility of them killing her husband, Lyle." CW: What a sweet person. And here I thought her complicity with these murdering SOBs was all about love.

Monday
Jun152015

The Commentariat -- June 16, 2015

Afternoon Update:

Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: "The F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors are investigating whether front-office officials for the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful teams in baseball over the past two decades, hacked into internal networks of a rival team to steal closely guarded information about player personnel. Investigators have uncovered evidence that Cardinals officials broke into a network of the Houston Astros that housed special databases the team had built, according to law enforcement officials. Internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports were compromised, the officials said."

Matthew Daly & Steven Ohlemacher of the AP: Hillary Clinton confidant "Sidney Blumenthal, testified in a closed session before the House Benghazi committee Tuesday morning about frequent emails on Libya he sent to Clinton when she served as secretary of state."

Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump, the garrulous real estate developer whose name has adorned apartment buildings, hotels, Trump-brand neckties and Trump-brand steaks, announced on Tuesday his entry into the 2016 presidential race, brandishing his wealth and fame as chief qualifications in an improbable quest for the Republican nomination."

*****

Michelle Boorstein, et al., of the Washington Post: "A draft of a major environmental document by Pope Francis says 'the bulk of global warming' is caused by human activity -- a perspective aligned with most climate scientists but still highly controversial to some Americans. In the draft, portions of which were translated by The Washington Post, the pope takes climate change deniers to task and calls on 'humanity' to take steps -- including changing manufacturing and consumption trends -- to turn back the clock on global warming. He backs the science behind climate change, citing 'a very considerable consensus that points out we are now facing a worrisome warming of the climate.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... CW: This is bad news for "I Am Not A Scientist" Roman Catholic GOPers. Should be fun to watch Marco finesse this one. ...

... Emma Green of the Atlantic: "The official copy of the encyclical doesn't come out until Thursday, but on Monday, the Italian magazine L'Espresso leaked an Italian version, which Church officials are calling a 'draft.'... [His Holiness was not amused.] Considering that Latin America and Africa are Francis's two biggest 'constituencies,' it's no wonder that the environment is a point of pressing concern for the global Church: Climate change affects those who are poor and live in developing countries much more intensely than those who live in the developed world. Francis is coming out against climate change, yes. But he's mostly continuing the focus of his entire papacy: speaking for the world's poor."

Good News for Women & Families. Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from North Carolina officials seeking to revive a state law that had required doctors to perform ultrasounds, display the resulting sonograms and describe the fetuses to women seeking abortions. The Supreme Court's one-sentence order, as is the custom, gave no reasons. Justice Antonin Scalia noted a dissent, also without saying why. 'The state cannot commandeer the doctor-patient relationship to compel a physician to express its preference to the patient,' Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in December for a unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va. 'This compelled speech, even though it is a regulation of the medical profession, is ideological in intent and in kind.'" (Also linked yesterday.)

Lydia Wheeler of the Hill: "While delivering the decision in the immigration case Kerry v. Din on Monday, [Justice] Scalia listed the justices who dissented from the opinion and, instead of saying 'Ginsburg,' said 'Goldberg.'" CW: Well, there was a Justice Goldberg -- back in 1965 -- & he very well might have joined the dissent. So Goldberg, Ginsburg? Meh. All those liberals are the same.

Mark Berman of the Washington Post: "The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday that a business can fire an employee for using medical marijuana even if the employee is off-duty at the time, a decision that could have far-reaching ramifications in a state that has decriminalized most marijuana use." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Here's the Denver Post story, by Alicia Wallace & Jordan Steffen.

Paul Kane & David Nakamura of the Washington Post: "After successful Democratic efforts to block the president's trade package, [President] Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) spoke by phone and consulted their respective top lieutenants as they tried to find a path to success, according to senior aides.... No one is declaring the trade agenda dead, but as long as [Hillary] Clinton and [Nancy] Pelosi -- two of the most influential voices with the party's base -- decline to help the president secure the votes, its prospects are pretty dim." ...

... Here's the New York Times story, by Carl Hulse & Gardiner Harris. ...

... CW: Turns out I wasn't fair to Larry Summers yesterday, as further down his column, "Summers also provided a series of reasons to be skeptical of the [TPP] treaty, however...." (Translations of Summersese by John Cassidy of the New Yorker.) ...

... Robert Reich: If the TPP is dead, it's because "most Americans no longer support free trade.... In recent years the biggest gains from trade have gone to investors and executives, while the burdens have fallen disproportionately on those in the middle and below who have lost good-paying jobs.... The American economy looks increasingly arbitrary, as CEOs of big firms now rake in 300 times more than the wages of average workers, while two-thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck." Reich (& others) have repeated experiments that demonstrate that "When a game seems arbitrary, people are often willing to sacrifice gains for themselves in order to prevent others from walking away with far more -- a result that strikes them as inherently wrong." Increasingly, that how Americans view trade deals: their own gains are too small to justify giving the wealthy an ever bigger piece of the pie. ...

... In a (Loosely) Related Social Science Experiment ...

... Occupy, Capuchin-Style. Re: a discussion we had in the Comments section yesterday, contributor Whyte Owen adds this scientific study, interpreted by Frans de Waal, of natural reactions to perceived inequality:

... As Akhilleus points out, there's one big difference between the Capuchin & Occupy experiences: the lab patrol does not storm the lab in riot gear to pepper-spray & arrest the cuke-tossing Capuchin protester.

Andrew Sorkin of the New York Times: A judicial ruling in favor of AIG could cause the government not to bail out too-big-to-fail institutions in the future. "Maurice Greenberg, the company's former chief executive and one of its largest shareholders..., sued the government on behalf of shareholders, contending its takeover was illegal and unfair to investors. The judge largely sided with Mr. Greenberg, confounding many legal experts who considered the case a long shot.... He determined that the takeover of A.I.G. was orchestrated to 'maximize the benefits to the government and to the taxpaying public.'... Still, the judge did not award any monetary damages to Mr. Greenberg, making it a moral victory, but not an economic one."

Rachel Abrams of the New York Times: "A group of community and labor organizations is accusing Walmart of inappropriately using the nonprofit Walmart Foundation to help reduce local opposition to its expansion efforts in some urban areas.... The group argued in a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service dated Monday that the Walmart Foundation violated terms of its tax-exempt status.... The Walmart Foundation's contributions in some cities rose steadily as Walmart tried to curry local support and gain access in those markets, according to the complaint. The foundation donated just over $200,000 to organizations in Los Angeles in 2008 and 2009, the complaint said, but raised that amount to $1.4 million in 2011, just as plans to open a store were getting underway. In 2013, the year that store opened, donations dropped to about $230,000."

Richard Perez-Pena of the New York Times: "In her first interview since being accused of misrepresenting her racial background and stepping down as an N.A.A.C.P. official, Rachel A. Dolezal did not back down on Tuesday, stating 'I identify as black,' although she comes from a white family. When Matt Lauer of NBC's 'Today' show asked, 'When did you start deceiving people?' Ms. Dolezal would not concede that she had done so." ...

... Richard Perez-Pena: Rachel Dolezal, "the head of the N.A.A.C.P. chapter in Spokane, subjected to national scrutiny and ridicule after it appeared she lied about her own racial background, announced Monday that she was quitting that post." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

** Daniel Sharstein in the New York Times Magazine on the history of American whites passing for black & Dolezal's somewhat anachronistic choice to do so. ...

... Jelani Cobb of the New Yorker: "Rachel Dolezal is not black — by lineage or lifelong experience — yet I find her deceptions less troubling than the vexed criteria being used to exclude her." ...

... Adolph Reed, in Common Dreams, takes a similarly nuanced view of Dolezal's racial identity. He is mighty put out by the identity police. ...

... The Shallow Prejudice of Charles Pierce. CW: A reminder, in case it has slipped your notice, that Charles Pierce doesn't care about women -- in general. Pierce is a superb wordsmith who raises snark to an art form, but his sexism is largely unmitigated. When he uses it to belittle women, the result should discomfit the reader. ...

... The Smoking Gun: "The NAACP official who today resigned in the face of evidence that she masqueraded as black once sued Howard University for denying her teaching posts and a scholarship because she was a white woman, The Smoking Gun has learned. Rachel Dolezal, 37, who headed the NAACP's Spokane, Washington chapter, sued Howard for discrimination in 2002, the year she graduated from the historically black college with a Master of Fine Arts degree."

Paul Waldman explains mainstream media bias to Republicans: "Mainstream outlets are frequently biased, but mostly toward sensationalism."

... Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Best Retraction Ever. Ahiza Garcia of TPM: "The Athens[, Georgia,] Banner-Herald on Monday was forced to post a retraction to its website saying, 'the sun has not exploded' after mistakenly announcing 'the sun just exploded.' The website of the Athens, Ga. newspaper, OnlineAthens.com, said an 'unauthorized updated news item' was posted after the site was the 'victim of an online miscue.' The paper said that the incident was being investigated."

Presidential Race

Patricia Mazzei & Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald: "Jeb Bush took the stage Monday at the nation's largest and most diverse university, the embodiment of working-class Miami's aspirations, and declared himself the best presidential candidate to help all Americans build a better life for themselves and their families." ...

... Nate Cohn of the New York Times: Jeb Bush "has not won the invisible primary, the behind-the-scenes competition for elite support that often decides the nomination, and he has not even emerged as a favorite of the party's large block of more moderate voters. He starts in a weaker position than not only his brother in 1999 or his father in 1987, but also Mitt Romney in 2011.... Perhaps most important, it's surprisingly hard to find prominent elites who support Mr. Bush.... Much of the Republican elite has serious reservations about whether Mr. Bush is the best candidate to face Mrs. Clinton.... His favorability ratings and standing against her are dismal." ...

... Catherine Ho of the Washington Post: Jeb Bush peppered his campaign announcement with criticisms of Washington insiders & lobbyists, but "Several of Bush's financial backers and supporters are Washington veterans and his deep ties to K Street will likely boost the former Florida governor's ability to raise big money and allow him to tap into a well of veteran policy advisers for his campaign. His list of allies in the influence world include the heads of big lobby shops, Republican lawmakers-turned-lobbyists and longtime advisers to the Bush family." ...

... Dana Milbank: Jeb! runs away from Bush. ...

... Charles Pierce: "Honest to god, if you listened to the speech, which was written very well and delivered with the kind of smug WASP brio that so often eluded that chap who Jeb (!) bumped into back in the Aughts, you would believe that history began in January of 2009. He did make a little wink and a nod to the 'first president I met on the day I was born, and the second one I met on the day I came home.' But, beyond that, you'd have thought he was found in a basket in the bullrushes along the banks of the Kennebec River." ...

... Grumpy Not Happy with Doc, Dopey & Sleazy, et al. McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed is on to something here: "From the beginning, [Jeb] Bush has insisted his decision about whether to undertake a presidential run in 2016 would depend on his answer to one question: 'Can I do it joyfully?' But now, as he officially launches his campaign at a Monday afternoon rally in Miami, Bush's pursuit of the presidency seems destined to be a grinding, grumpy ordeal -- permeated with disdain for the trivial demands of campaign pageantry, and rooted in a sense of duty to save the GOP from a field of candidates he seems to regard as unprepared or unserious. Joylessness wafts off Bush wherever he goes, from the photo ops on his just-completed tour of Europe to the grip-and-grins on the campaign trail in New Hampshire." ...

... Steve M.: "Jeb Bush is officially in the presidential race -- and the reviews from his own party are abysmal.... What is Jeb talking about that makes Republican voters want to stand up and cheer? McCain and Romney identified the hottest of hot-button issues. Jeb hasn't -- and what's more, he doesn't seem to want to. He's in trouble."

Dr. Sigmund Frist Mitt Romney, Millionaire Psychiatrist Examines Hillary from Afar. Nick Gass of Politico: "'Well, I thought the text touched the various places she needs to touch to try and keep her base intact. Somehow when you see her on a stage or when she comes into a room full of people, she's smiling with her mouth but her eyes are saying, "Where's my latte?" It just doesn't suggest that she believes everything she's saying,' Romney said on Monday on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe,' speaking via satellite from Salt Lake City. He also expressed skepticism that Clinton will be able to sell her populist message 'when she makes in one hour a multiple of what an average American will make in a year.'" CW: That's at least 47 percent rich, Mitt. ...

... Steve M.: "And yes, just to be clear, Mitt Romney is accusing someone else of flip-flopping, insincerity, and saying stuff just to mollify base voters in a political party." ...

... Laura Clawson of Daily Kos: "For some reason, Mitt Romney thinks he has the public affection and trust to be an effective attack dog against Hillary Clinton. Instead, he's a hilarious attack dog."

... Without reference to the above video, Elias Isquith of Salon comments on the upsides & perils of Clinton's "fighter" meme. CW: What Isquith doesn't mention is that that are plenty of "values" on which the majority of Americans agree: they just don't agree on how best to optimize the environment for furthering these American "values." As long as Hillary sticks to portraying herself as a fighter for well-accepted "values" -- like the Four Freedoms she emphasized -- I think her strategy will be effective. ...

... Anne Gearan & David Nakamura of the Washington Post: "Hillary Rodham Clinton further distanced herself Monday from a massive Asia-Pacific trade deal that she helped shepherd as secretary of state, opening a rift between the Democratic front-runner and the Democratic president she hopes to succeed. 'I will judge what's in the final agreement, but I hope that it can be made better,' Clinton said during a news conference with reporters here.... She twice avoided answering whether she still supports the 'fast track' negotiating authority Obama seeks or will want the same powers if she becomes president." ...

... Michael Schmidt, Hillary Clinton's Official New York Times Attack Dog: "Emails that a longtime confidant to Hillary Rodham Clinton recently handed over to the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, raise new questions about whether the State Department and Mrs. Clinton have complied with a series of requests from the panel. The emails, provided by Sidney Blumenthal, a close adviser to Mrs. Clinton, include information about weapons that were circulating in Libya and about the security situation in Benghazi in the year and a half before the attacks. The committee has asked the State Department and Mrs. Clinton several times in the past year for emails from her and other department officials about 'weapons located or found in' Libya and about the decision to open and maintain a diplomatic mission in Benghazi.... State Department officials said that they had complied only with requests and subpoenas related directly to the attacks because the committee's demands were too broad." ...

... Rebecca Traister of the New Republic on "the new, old Hillary": "Most striking is Clinton's willingness to showcase an older iteration of her professional persona: the one that was so unpalatable when she debuted it nationally, 25 years ago.... America didn't like the woman who admired Saul Alinsky very much. So in an attempt to gain power, she changed. But it's also on us, and our longstanding lack of appetite for women who threaten or trouble us." ...

... Sabrina Siddiqui of the Guardian: "The feud between Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the news media escalated on Monday, when the reporter designated by the traveling press to cover Clinton's events [in New Hampshire] was denied access. David Martosko, the US political editor at The Daily Mail, was scheduled as the so-called 'pool' reporter for Clinton's visit through New Hampshire. But when he arrived at the gathering spot for the traveling press corps on Monday morning, Martosko was turned away by a Clinton staffer who said the reporter was no longer the approved pooler for the day's events." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Karoli of Crooks & Liars: "David Martosko's 'professional' background is colorful, to say the least. Before Martosko was exiled to The Daily Mail, he was the editor of Tucker Carlson's hack site, the Daily Caller. He set about the work of ratfcking with a purpose there, lying about Senator Robert Menendez and hookers in order to try and knock Menendez out of contention." ...

... Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones (March 2015): "Before Daily Caller Editor in Chief Tucker Carlson hired him in 2011 -- a controversial choice given Martosko's previous arrests and lack of experience in journalism -- Martosko spent a decade working for Richard Berman, a longtime PR operative behind a number of industry-backed campaigns." ...

... Digby: "If you are wondering why people think the news media is boring and useless, this would be why. I understand why reporters would be miffed over this sort of thing. But they really should stop and think about whether anybody else in the country could possibly give a damn about it." ...

... CW: Hard to understand why digby isn't as concerned about Freeeedom of the Press as is Dylan Byers: "The Hillary Clinton campaign denied access to the print pool reporter on Monday, reigniting reporters' longstanding concerns about the campaign's commitment to running an open and transparent campaign."

CW: Love the latest letter from Bernie (no link), which begins,

One of the biggest mistakes President Obama made once he was in office was, after mobilizing millions of Americans during his brilliant 2008 campaign, to basically tell those supporters, 'Thank you, I'm going to sit down with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and take it from here.' I will not make that mistake.

CW: To my great surprise, it turns out that the Trump for President tease is really all about self-promotion & braggadocio. Robert Costa & Matea Gold of the Washington Post: "Donald J. Trump, the billionaire real-estate mogul, on Tuesday will release a summary of assets that total about $9 billion as part of his likely entry into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to people familiar with his plans.... Trump's declared assets are more than double the estimate of his net worth by Forbes, which currently pegs his net holdings at $4.1 billion. That figure would make him the wealthiest Republican contender." Note: Trump isn't necessarily lying about his assets. He could have something in the neighborhood of $5BB in liabilities.

Beyond the Beltway

Presenting the Bobby & Grover Budget Comedy Act. Jonathan Weismann of Slate: "... [Louisana Gov. Bobby] Jindal created a fake fee for students, and a fake tax credit to balance it out, which ultimately leads to no money changing hands, but apparently satisfies whatever agreement Jindal struck with [tax nazi Grover] Norquist to preserve the illusion that he didn't raise taxes. 'It's an embarrassing bill to vote for,' one Republican state representative told the New York Times, demonstrating the sort of candor that only becomes possible once your own party's governor has alienated the vast majority of his state and abandoned all pretense of rational policymaking in pursuit of an inevitable also-ran performance in the GOP primary." CW: As for me, I'm not letting Bobby & his sidekick Grover appear in Kate Madison's Amazing Clown Carnival (see yesterday's Comments), no matter how side-splitting their routine.

Mark Gethfred & Mitch Smith of the New York Times: "The Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis and a deputy bishop resigned on Monday after prosecutors recently charged the archdiocese with having failed to protect youths from abuse by pedophile priests. In statements released Monday morning, the archbishop, John C. Nienstedt, and an auxiliary bishop, Lee A. Piché, said they were resigning to help the archdiocese heal." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

News Ledes

Guardian: "An Egyptian court has upheld a death sentence against the ousted president Mohamed Morsi in a trial stemming from his escape from prison during the 2011 uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak from power. Tuesday's ruling reaffirms an initial decision in the case in May, in which Morsi and more than 100 others were sentenced to death."

New York Times: "Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen released a video statement on Tuesday confirming the death of its leader, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, in an American missile strike."

Washington Post: "The Islamic State was routed Monday from one of its key strongholds on Syria's border with Turkey after its defenses crumbled and its fighters either defected or fled, raising new questions about the group's vaunted military capabilities. The fall of the town of Tal Abyad to a Kurdish-Syrian rebel force backed by U.S. airstrikes came after just two days of fighting...."

Sunday
Jun142015

The Commentariat -- June 15, 2015

Michelle Boorstein, et al., of the Washington Post: "A draft of a major environmental document by Pope Francis says 'the bulk of global warming' is caused by human activity -- a perspective aligned with most climate scientists but still highly controversial to some Americans. In the draft, portions of which were translated by The Washington Post, the pope takes climate change deniers to task and calls on 'humanity' to take steps -- including changing manufacturing and consumption trends -- to turn back the clock on global warming. He backs the science behind climate change, citing 'a very considerable consensus that points out we are now facing a worrisome warming of the climate.'" ...

... CW: This is bad news for "I Am Not A Scientist" Roman Catholic GOPers. Should be fun to watch Marco finesse this one.

Good News for Women & Families. Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from North Carolina officials seeking to revive a state law that had required doctors to perform ultrasounds, display the resulting sonograms and describe the fetuses to women seeking abortions. The Supreme Court's one-sentence order, as is the custom, gave no reasons. Justice Antonin Scalia noted a dissent, also without saying why. 'The state cannot commandeer the doctor-patient relationship to compel a physician to express its preference to the patient,' Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in December for a unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va. 'This compelled speech, even though it is a regulation of the medical profession, is ideological in intent and in kind.'"

Mark Berman of the Washington Post: "The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday that a business can fire an employee for using medical marijuana even if the employee is off-duty at the time, a decision that could have far-reaching ramifications in a state that has decriminalized most marijuana use."

Richard Perez-Pena of the New York Times: Rachel Dolezal, "the head of the N.A.A.C.P. chapter in Spokane, subjected to national scrutiny and ridicule after it appeared she lied about her own racial background, announced Monday that she was quitting that post."

Mark Gethfred & Mitch Smith of the New York Times: "The Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis and a deputy bishop resigned on Monday after prosecutors recently charged the archdiocese with having failed to protect youths from abuse by pedophile priests. In statements released Monday morning, the archbishop, John C. Nienstedt, and an auxiliary bishop, Lee A. Piché, said they were resigning to help the archdiocese heal."

Sabrina Siddiqui of the Guardian: "The feud between Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the news media escalated on Monday, when the reporter designated by the traveling press to cover Clinton's events [in New Hampshire] was denied access. David Martosko, the US political editor at The Daily Mail, was scheduled as the so-called 'pool' reporter for Clinton's visit through New Hampshire. But when he arrived at the gathering spot for the traveling press corps on Monday morning, Martosko was turned away by a Clinton staffer who said the reporter was no longer the approved pooler for the day's events."

*****

** Our Long National Nightmare Is Over. Paul Krugman: Democratic politicians have returned to being Democrats. Krugman suggests several factors that explain why. "... you can describe all of this as a move to the left, but there's more to it than that.... Democrats are adopting ideas that work and rejecting ideas that don't, whereas Republicans are doing the opposite.... Something important is happening, and in the long run it will matter a great deal." ...

... Krugman's old pal Larry Summers didn't get the memo. (In fact, Krugman takes a dig at Summers, tho of course Krugman is too polite to name him.) In a Washington Post op-ed, Summers tells us the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is absolutely fabulous, & the Congress's failure to send a clean bill to the President is almost as bad as 100 years ago when the Senate rejected the League of Nations. Can World War III be far behind?

Odd News. Brad Meltzer in the New York Daily News: The Secret Service told me that when "Reagan was President, he carried his own gun.... A .38. Reagan used to hide it in his briefcase and take it on Air Force One." CW: Which should serve to demonstrate how safe packing heat keeps you.

Presidential Race

Kyle Cheney of Politico: "Hillary Clinton, facing criticism from rivals for her silence on a stalled international trade agreement, spoke out Sunday during a campaign stop in Iowa, urging President Barack Obama to collaborate with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and craft a deal more palatable to Democrats":

The president should listen to and work with his allies in Congress starting with Nancy Pelosi, who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak agreement would have on our workers to make sure we get the best strongest deal possible. And if we don't get it, there should be no deal.

Hooray! There's a New Maureen Dowd! Olivia Nuzzi of the Daily Beast was so miffed at not being able to go where she wanted to go during Clinton's Roosevelt Island speech that she wrote a whole column about it titled "Welcome to Hillary Island, a Pleasant Little Police State." (If you don't recognize Nuzzi's column as classic MoDo, let me take you back in time -- to like three weeks ago -- when MoDo wrote about her troubles with Uber.)

Dylan Stableford of Yahoo News: "A day after Hillary Clinton formally kicked off her 2016 presidential campaign with a speech at a rally on New York's Roosevelt Island, current and would-be rivals on both sides of the political aisle took aim at the former secretary of state on Sunday morning talk shows." ...

... Adam Desiderio of ABC News: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took a swipe at Hillary Clinton today, saying he doubts whether the Democratic presidential candidate knows the concerns of 'real Americans.' Christie ... said Clinton's speech during her campaign rally Saturday in New York City sounded like it was put together by 'liberal political consultants.' 'I thought Elizabeth Warren wasn't running for president,' Christie said in an exclusive interview on ABC's 'This Week.'" With video. ...

... Mark Hensch of the Hill: "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is the only 2016 GOP presidential candidate with foreign policy stances that are worse than Hillary Clinton's." ...

... Mark Hensch: "Barely hours after Hillary Clinton's campaign launch in New York on Saturday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) used footage from the event for an ad that mocks Clinton as a politician of the past":

Michael Barbaro & Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: Jeb Bush will announce his candidacy today at 3 pm ET at a public college in the Miami area. " ... he will offer himself as a messenger of optimistic conservatism, uninterested in the politics of grievance, obstructionism and partisanship that, in his eyes and those of his allies, have catapulted less accomplished rivals, like Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, to national prominence." ...

... Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post profiles Bush's political metemorphosis from "head-banging conservative" to less-obnoxious conservative. It was a change of style, not a change of ideology. ...

... Favorite Son? Maybe Not. Joshua Green of Politico: "Jeb Bush's big political credential, and his presumed strength in the presidential campaign he'll launch on Monday, is the broad appeal he demonstrated over two terms as Florida governor -- doubly important given the critical role Florida's primary will play in winnowing the GOP field.... But he may not be nearly as strong in Florida as his reputation suggests. A Bloomberg Politics study conducted with University of Florida political scientist Daniel A. Smith found that nearly three-quarters of Florida's 12.9 million currently registered voters have never even seen Bush's name on a ballot.... By contrast, 92 percent of Floridians who voted when Marco Rubio was last on the ballot, in 2010, are still registered." ...

... Ha Ha. Brad DeLong catches Team Jeb comparing his revamped campaign to Pickett's charge. As DeLong puts it: "Jeb Bush: I want to send a message that my campaign is like a disastrous and profoundly stupid attack that costs three casualties for every one inflicted.... As George Pickett said of Robert E. Lee -- the general who ordered the charge -- 'That man destroyed my division!'" CW: Aw, maybe they meant the charge of the Light Brigade."

Mark Hensch: "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the defeat of President Obama's trade legislation in the House on Friday was the right outcome for average Americans. 'The House has put a kibosh on the Trans-Pacific [Partnership],' he said at a rally at Drake University in Des Moines late Friday, according to The Des Moines Register. 'Our trade policies over the last 40 years .. have been a disaster,' Sanders said. 'TPP is a continuation of these disastrous trade policies.' 'Today, the good side won,' he added."

Beyond the Beltway

** Surprise! Gun Control Works. Jeff Guo of the Washington Post: "... researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Berkeley, say that Connecticut's [1994] 'permit-to-purchase' law was actually a huge success for public safety. In a study released Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, they estimate that the law reduced gun homicides by 40 percent between 1996 and 2005. That's 296 lives saved in 10 years.... There is a 40 percent gap ... between the expected number of gun-related homicides and the actual number of gun-related homicides."

Robert Roldan of the Louisville Courier-Journal: "Community members and activists are questioning a Louisville Metro Police officer's use of deadly force against an African man in Old Louisville on Saturday afternoon. But Police Chief Steve Conrad said the man, who he said was thought to be an African man in his mid-30s, was shot twice in self-defense after he allegedly picked up a metal flag pole and swung at the officer outside a convenience store." The video is here.

Thanks to contributor MAG, we now can answer the burning question, Whatever happen to Scott Brown, short-time senator? He is working as an unpaid intern in a bike shop. Really. Also, too, he's giving advice to GOP presidential candidates on how to win in New Hampshire. I hope they're listening. I do want to warn MAG & other Mainers that Scottie is still living very, very close to Maine, the state of his birth.

ELSEWHERE in New Hampshire. WGME: "A New Hampshire man wants to defy an Islamic prohibition on depicting the prophet Muhammad in pictures and plans to host a 'Draw Muhammad' art contest in August. Jerry Delemus, a 60-year-old former Marine, says the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment trumps any religion's limitations on such expression." ...

... CW: WGME might have said a little more about Delemus: He ran for "Constitutional sheriff" of Strafford County, New Hampshire (and lost), he is/was planning to form "a militia as a bulwark to protect the general population from despotism or tyranny," & was "the founder of Rochester's Glenn Beck-inspired 9/12 Project." In 2014, "Jerry DeLemus grabbed his Gadsden flag and raced to Bunkerville, Nevada to support [Cliven Bundy] in his confrontation with federal officials. When he arrived, the former Marine sergeant was appointed commander of the growing armed militia and was featured in numerous news reports and videos." His wife Susan, a former state representative, is a notorious birther.